If October is all about the breast, then November is all about being thankful for them. (Side note: We ban those bracelets at school even though they’re funny.). Blogs and Facebook status abound about a thankfulness project and what one is thankful for. Mind you, I’m all for it. However, it’s a lot like February being Black History Month. Shouldn’t that be happening all year?
As the resident atheist in my family and friends, I suspect most are not aware that, when dining alone, I stop and contemplate my meal. Since I eat at places where you can see who fixes (throws together) the meal, it is easy for me to consider their contribution to my health. I actually observe a moment of being thankful and of being blessed for that which I am about to receive. I silently thank those who have harvested, killed, cooked, and served my meal to me. I am thankful for my job, allowing me to purchase my meal. I am also thankful for the time to step away from my job to eat in relative peace and quiet.
One may have noticed by now that my ritual does not extend into my home, nor when I am eating with others. Like most prayers or meditations, I believe these moments are private and silent. As a child I felt this way as well. The whole process of blessing the meal seemed… to be Amish about it, vainglorious. It seemed to be less about bestowing thanks and more about proving one’s religious devotion or currying favor with the host family. Perhaps it was that during dinner the discussion would turn towards those on welfare, or who were in the United States illegally, and it was clear these people were not to be blessed. Our blessings were reserved for the worthy. Our thanks only to those who could do something for us. For that reason, and others not shared, I believe that one should “bless this meal” in private.
One should not construe, however, that I feel those dedicating this month’s blog or Facebook status are being vainglorious. I do feel there is a lot of sincerity in being public about one’s thankfulness. In part, it models a connected community of like-minded people. It also allows people to see that they are appreciated. Not all band-wagons are bad.
Please know this, I am forever grateful that I have this blessed life that I have. At no point growing up did I ever fantasize that I would be loved this much or by this many people. I never assumed I could be happy being married and being a mother. I had railed against stereotypical female jobs only to enter teaching and find a passion there that was missing. I am well-fed, loved, sometimes even adored, employed, housed, healthy, and surrounded by people who make me think and who answer the charge of pushing me to be a better person. Even if life as I know it disappeared tomorrow, I cannot presume to not recognize that I was one of the lucky ones. I will still be grateful for the life I was given, and seek to find fulfillment in the new and unknown.
Truthfully, who could ask for more from such a life?
For all that, and those people who make life richer, I am truly thankful.